414 F.3d 1207 (10th Cir. 2005), 03-8058, Wyoming v. United States Dept. of Agr.

Docket Nº:03-8058.
Citation:414 F.3d 1207
Party Name:State of WYOMING, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE; United States Forest Service, Department of Agriculture; Ann M. Veneman, United States Department of Agriculture Secretary, in her official capacity; Dale N. Bosworth, United States Forest Service Chief Forester, in his official capacity, Defendants, and Wyoming Outdo
Case Date:July 11, 2005
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
 
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414 F.3d 1207 (10th Cir. 2005)

State of WYOMING, Plaintiff-Appellee,

v.

UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE; United States Forest Service, Department of Agriculture; Ann M. Veneman, United States Department of Agriculture Secretary, in her official capacity; Dale N. Bosworth, United States Forest Service Chief Forester, in his official capacity, Defendants,

and

Wyoming Outdoor Council; The Wilderness Society; Sierra Club; Biodiversity Associates; Pacific Rivers Council; Natural Resources Defense Council; Defenders of Wildlife; National Audobon Society, Defendants-Intervenors-Appellants,

United States of America; Pacific Legal Foundation; Mountain States Legal Foundation; Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics; Colorado Mining Association, Utah Mining Association, Wyoming Mining Association, Western Business Roundtable; American Forest & Paper Association; State of Idaho; Blueribbon Coalition; Idaho State Snowmobile Association; American Council of Snowmobile Associations; Wyoming Association of Conservation Districts, Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation, Wyoming Stock Growers Association, Petroleum Association of Wyoming, Billings County, North Dakota, Rocky Mountain Region--People for the U.S.A.; and State of Utah, Amici Curiae.

No. 03-8058.

United States Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit

July 11, 2005

Page 1208

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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James S. Angell of Earthjustice, Denver, CO (Timothy J. Preso, Douglas L. Honnold, and Abigail M. Dillen of Earthjustice, Bozeman, MT, with him on the briefs), for Appellants.

Jennifer A. Golden, Senior Assistant Attorney General (Patrick J. Crank, Attorney General; and Jay A. Jerde, Deputy Attorney General, with her on the briefs), Wyoming Attorney General's Office, Cheyenne, WY, for Appellee.

Robin L. Rivett and Emma T. Suárez Pawlicki of Pacific Legal Foundation, Sacramento, CA, filed an amicus curiae brief for Pacific Legal Foundation.

Paul M. Seby and William H. Caile of Friedlob, Sanderson, Paulson & Tourtillott, Denver, CO, filed an amici curiae brief for Colorado Mining Association, Utah Mining Association, Wyoming Mining Association, and the Western Business Roundtable.

Thomas R. Lundquist and J. Michael Klise of Crowell & Moring LLP, Washington, D.C., with William R. Murray, of Counsel, American Forest & Paper Association, Washington, D.C., filed an amicus curiae brief for the American Forest & Paper Association.

Kelly A. Johnson, Acting Assistant Attorney General, Jeffrey Bossert Clark, Deputy Assistant Attorney General, James C. Kilbourne and Andrew C. Mergen, Attorneys, Environment and Natural Resources Division, United States Department of Justice, Washington, D.C., filed an amicus curiae brief for the United States of America.

Patrick A. Parenteau and Julia LeMense Huff of Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic, Vermont Law School, South Royalton, VT, filed an amicus curiae brief for Environmental Ethics.

Lawrence G. Wasden, Attorney General, Clive J. Strong, Chief, Natural Resources Division, Clay R. Smith and Steven W. Strack, Deputy Attorneys General, Boise, ID, filed an amicus curiae brief for the State of Idaho.

Paul A. Turcke of Moore Smith Buxton & Turcke, Chartered, Boise, ID, filed an amici curiae brief for Blueribbon Coalition, Idaho State Snowmobile Association, and American Council of Snowmobile Associations.

Alison Roberts & William Perry Pendley, Mountain States Legal Foundation, filed an amicus curiae brief for Mountain States Legal Foundation.

Constance E. Brooks and Michael Marinovich of C.E. Brooks & Associates P.C., Denver, CO, filed an amici curiae brief for Wyoming Association of Conservation Districts, Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation, Wyoming Stock Growers Association, Petroleum Association of Wyoming, Billings

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County, ND, and Rocky Mountain Region-People for the U.S.A.

Michael S. Johnson, Jaysen R. Oldroyd, Assistant Attorneys General, and Mark L. Shurtleff, Utah Attorney General, Salt Lake City, UT, filed an amicus brief for the State of Utah.

Before HENRY, MURPHY, and McCONNELL, Circuit Judges.

MURPHY, Circuit Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

In January 2001 the United States Forest Service issued a rule, commonly known as the "Roadless Rule," that generally prohibited road construction in inventoried roadless areas on National Forest System lands. Roadless Area Conservation, 36 C.F.R. §§ 294.10-294.14 (2001). The State of Wyoming filed a complaint in the United States District Court for the District of Wyoming challenging the Roadless Rule. 1 A number of environmental organizations intervened on behalf of the federal defendants in defense of the Rule. 2 After concluding that the Forest Service promulgated the Roadless Rule in violation of the National Environmental Policy Act ("NEPA"), 42 U.S.C. §§ 4321-4370f, and the Wilderness Act, 16 U.S.C. §§ 1131-1136, the district court permanently enjoined enforcement of the Rule. Wyoming v. United States Dep't of Agric., 277 F.Supp.2d 1197, 1239 (D.Wyo.2003). Defendant-intervenors are appealing the district court's order. During the pendency of this appeal, the Forest Service adopted a final rule that replaces the Roadless Rule. We conclude that the new rule has mooted the issues in this case and therefore dismiss the appeal and vacate the district court's judgment.

II. BACKGROUND

In October 1999, at the direction of President Clinton, the Forest Service initiated a public rulemaking process designed to protect the remaining roadless areas within the National Forest System. See Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement, 64 Fed.Reg. 56,306 (Oct. 19, 1999). The proposed rule and Draft Environmental Impact Statement ("DEIS") were published in early May 2000. See Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 65 Fed.Reg. 30,276 (May 10, 2000). Public comments were received until July 17, 2000, and thereafter the Final Environmental Impact Statement ("FEIS") was published in November 2000. In January 2001 the Forest Service announced the adoption of the Roadless Rule, which prohibited road construction, reconstruction, and timber harvest in inventoried roadless areas located on National Forest System lands unless an exception applied. 36 C.F.R. §§ 294.12(a)-(b) (2001). 3 The Rule

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affected approximately 58.5 million acres (or thirty-one percent) of the National Forest System lands, including roughly 3.25 million acres (or thirty-five percent) of the National Forest lands in Wyoming.

Almost immediately, the Roadless Rule was embroiled in litigation. See, e.g., Kootenai Tribe v. Veneman, 313 F.3d 1094, 1126 (9th Cir.2002) (reversing preliminary injunction that prohibited implementation of the Roadless Rule). On May 18, 2001, the State of Wyoming filed the present suit seeking declaratory and injunctive relief. In its complaint, Wyoming alleged, inter alia, that the Roadless Rule violated NEPA, the Wilderness Act, the National Forest Management Act, 16 U.S.C. §§ 1600-1614, and the Multiple-Use Sustained-Yield Act, 16 U.S.C. §§ 528-531. On July 14, 2003, the district court held that the Forest Service promulgated the Roadless Rule in violation of NEPA and the Wilderness Act. Wyoming, 277 F.Supp.2d at 1239. The court then set aside the Roadless Rule pursuant to the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. § 706(2)(C), and issued a permanent injunction, national in scope, prohibiting the federal defendants from enforcing the Roadless Rule. Id. at 1237-39.

Although the federal defendants announced that they would not appeal the district court's order, the WOC groups filed a timely notice of appeal. While the appeal was pending, the Forest Service announced a proposal to replace the Roadless Rule. Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 69 Fed.Reg. 42,636 (July 16, 2004). At the same time, the Forest Service reinstated an interim directive to provide guidance for the protection and management of the roadless areas until the Roadless Rule could be replaced. Notice of Issuance of Agency Interim Directive, 69 Fed.Reg. 42,648 (July 16, 2004).

Oral argument was held on May 4, 2005, and the next day the Forest Service announced the adoption of a final rule replacing the Roadless Rule. The new rule establishes a process whereby state governors may petition the...

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